Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Legend of Chief Wabasis' Lost Treasure - 120

Chief John Wabasis' life was intermingled with some of the greatest Indian Chief's of the Flat River and Grand River tribes. He was well accepted in the 'rapid' villages all the way down to Grand Haven and beyond to the "Skunk water city" of Chicago and Wisconsin tribes north of their Grand River, too. Wabasis over the years had gained the respect of everyone he met whether white or red and always extended his hand of friendship.

Indian populations rose and fell with the changing seasons. During Wabasis' childhood he spent many summers in the villages near lakes, such as Wabasis Lake, the largest body of water in northeastern Kent County. The fishing was good and where life was easy for his squaw Cononoma to raise agricultural crops. To Indians this was the norm, but the various Indian tribes always knew when it was time to retire to the old villages at the mouths of the Flat, Thornapple and Rogue River connections to the Grand River. In winter the villages increased in population, not just from the tribes residing near lakes, but from the 'snowbirds' from the Mackinaw region. Prairie Village at Plainfield swelled to nearly 1000 as did at the 'rapids' and 400-800 at the villages at Ada, Lowell, Ionia, Lyons, Muir. It was a bee-hive of activity.

The Indians of the 1800's were similar to all the 'snowbirds' now who flew the coop before December and descended upon the extreme southern states; Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Anyplace warmer will suffice where snow is but a memory. They consider this a true tropical paradise, but to the Ottawas and Chippewa Indians living in the northern wilderness from Traverse City to Sault Ste. Marie in the 1820-1840's, their 'tropical paradise' was anywhere along the Grand (Wastenong) and Kalamazoo ('Boiling waters')Rivers.

Indians in the Summer lake villages knew exactly when to leave, because 90 days after the first ground fog appears in July is the meteorological forecast for when to expect the first killing freezes and crops would be harvested before that date as they prepared for the journey southward. They wanted to be canoeing southward on Lake Michigan in October and not during the turbulent days of November gales.

Indians from northern Michigan preferred living where it was moist cold, where temperatures fluctuated from -20 to + 50 degrees in winter. To them this was the tropical paradise they sought. The cold in the north above the Straits of Mackinaw is a dry bitter cold with many days below zero. That's because in the Upper Peninsula, the land is ravaged by the savage and bitter winds that sweep across the continental U.S. and the winter season lasts longer; 8 months as opposed to the 5-6 months in southern Michigan. It was intolerable weather for women and children even for the most seasoned trapper and trader. Life on Mackinaw Island or Sault Ste. Marie was cruel and many soldiers; British, French and Americans suffered many hardships and starvation in the forts during winter months. Those Indians who retired to the Grand and Kalamazoo Rivers felt warmed. To them life along these rivers was good, but in our minds (2010) we'd rather like living in Palm Beach. The Grand and Kalamazoo Rivers were their 'Winter Havens'.

The Indians would pack themselves in 30-foot long birch barke canoes; the men at the helm seizing command of the canoes forward movements while the women and children paddled strenuously. Indian squaw's and children did most of the arduous paddling. The only time the men paddled was in 'War' canoes. The notion that the squaws and children did nothing is poppycock and far removed from how Hollywood depicts Indian movements to wintering grounds. Everyone was expected to provide for themselves; to educate themselves and work for benefit of family and tribe. Children worked and played little; just the opposite of today. Our children are full of the "I wants" but do nothing to help the family unit. It's gimme' this and when they don't get what they feel they deserve they show disrespect by saying "Well, why did have me? I didn't ask to be born!" The Indian units 200 years ago were leagues ahead of us in proper training and raising children. When children today don't get what they 'demand' isn't it any wonder that they show disrespect and turn out as prodical children? Indian families were stircter, yet sometimes cruel, but they didn't treat their parents with ill regard.

The Indian women and children learned to raise and harvest crops and dry fish caught by the men at area lakes; to carry water which they hauled from lakes and streams. They had no irrigation sprinklers or potable water tanks. Southern Michigan weather was brutal, the hot, humid extremes made it necessary to keep the crops well hydrated and this is why the migrating Indians returned to Mackinaw in summer. Braves were the hunters scouting for game, fishing and fur trading provided them with the staples of Indian life. The men killed the critters, but it was the squaws and children who dressed them out and carried them back to camp. Men were treated as 'kings'. Thousands of Ottawas, Chippewas and Potawatomies migrated down Lake Michigan and entered the Grand River. No wintering villages on the Muskegon; the winter weather was too hostile, but when the Dogwoods bloomed in May, the Indians migrated northward back to the Mackinaw region, because they didn't like the heat and humidity of southern Michigan climate, but loved the warm days and cool nights.

Once the canoes came ashore at Grand at Kalamazoo winter villages, the entire families would disembark. The women would find the 'family kettle' that had been hibernating in a secret place for the summer. The men would build a 'bark home' and all would set in for a warm Winter of dried corn and venison. In the Spring the men speared Sturgeon and Muskellunges in the rivers and creeks and when the birds began returning and the Dogwoods bloomed the tribes trickled down the river to the mouths of the rivers for their annual get-together before returning to Mackinaw or wherever they spent the summer months. According to Indian legends Easter (the first sign of Christianity in the Indians 1800-1870) was seen when the white flowers were streaked with red. This they said was 'Christ's blood shed for them' and it was time for them to migrate northward.

Upon Chief Kewaycooshcums death it was then customary that before any pow-wows or get together parties, the braves were to surrender all of their axes, knives, spears and large clubs to their respective wives should they embibe in alcholic celebratory drinking. This the squaws thought was the safest way to protect family and others; only headaches and hangovers, no deaths or injuries from brandishing weapons while drunk. When clear minds prevailed the spouses returned their weapons. Rev. Isaac McCoy's fruits of labor had come full circle, but not until ten years after he left the Grand River Valley mission at the 'rapids'.

Wait just a minute' minute. Did you understand the part about the 'family kettle.' Every family unit had a kettle that was hidden for winter safekeepping when they returned. Each family had their own 'cook pot' or kettle so don't just go believing the only "kettle" hidden was the one Wabasis buried the treasure in. It is a misnomer to believe that the only 'pot o' treasure' out there contains his buried treasure. Finding the right 'kettle' is the key to understanding if it was Wabasis' hidden pot or that of another Indian family. The area around Wabasis Lake was the ancestral homeland of 5-8 different villages within a mile of Wabasis Lake. That's upwards of 500 Indians from the 1800-1860 era. Lots of treasure hunters are mistaking the legend of Chief Wabasis' if they think the chief and region was the bearer of one kettle. Sorry to say, no Indian would ever bury his money near his own domocile and Mucktasha and Chief Neogamah from Plainfield had reportedly spyed on Wabasis for nearly 24 years without Wabasis tipping off the burial site. How can this be if Wabasis was banished to live on the west end of Wabasis Lake since 1836, but he wasn't banished here that year, but not until 1850?

Old Joe Cizaukas, the Lithuanian immigrant, who was the once the former owner (1986) of the Frederik Meijer Pickerel Lake Park in Cannon Township, was considered an Indian. He said he didn't believe in bank investments and buried lots of his money he got from selling Christmas trees in Mason jars and burying them in discreet places. By the way, you'll end up in jail if sheriff deputies catch you with metal detectors in that Kent County park. To find it without modern marvels think like an Indian - you can't because Indians were smarter than you and he was smarter than Wabasis.

That's one reason why the bulk of Chief John Wabasis' lost treasure is still missing. You've still got a chance of finding it. He was a shrewd, intelligent Indian who knew exactly where to hide the kettle from prying eyes, but it wasn't the 'family kettle' of Indian treasure he buried. The treasure was in a white man's kettle, not his 'family kettle' that is supposedly buried somewhere along the shores of Wabasis Lake or within one mile of it. Too many twisted rumors made legend have left it in this vicinity, but that's an inaccurate assumption and I'm going to let you hang out with that thought until next time. I've left a cliffhanger -- a legend alteration is about to be exposed giving you time to put on your thinking bonnet. I brought you to the precipice of understanding the true nature of Wabasis, but it's a long way down should you fall off the cliff that overlooks Wabasis Lake.

My halo still flickers! I'm snickering like that idiot Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrain in the Hollywood produced series, 'The Dukes of Hazzard'.

The Legend of Chief Wabasis' Lost Treasure - 119

Chief John Wabasis was the Flat River tribes wealthiest Indian and he did it without signing any treaties. Most of the money he received was legally obtained through inheritances and being an educated half-breed who knew how to handle money and people. His biggest mentors were his father, a French Canadian Fur Trader and his Potawatomie Indian Mother, his adopted Chief Wobwindego, his real sons; Shogwogeno, Acongo and Anish all Ottawas. Another was Wabasis foster father Cobmoosa (P) and Chief Kewaygooshcum (O), and Mexinini all which helped Wabasis gain the respect of the other Grand River valley tribes at the 'rapids.'

Wabasis was a shrewd businessman and his education helped guarantee he would probably become one of Michigan's most colorful characters especially when it came to "lost treasures." To understand what was happening and how Chief Wabasis became a thorn in the hides of other tribes you need to know what was really happening between 1836-1863. Only then can you see how easily Wabasis fell out of favor with other tribal leaders and why they banished him to his 40-acre garden plot on western Wabasis Lake. Trouble is they banished him post haste, because they were bullheaded, stubborn and ignorant of treaty stipulations.

Wabasis was scorned by the Indians, especially the Blackskins for almost 25 years, but he was well respected by white settlers. Although a wealthy half-breed his lifestyle was described as poor and yet to some extent he was perhaps the smartest and richest of the Flat River tribes for he knew the value of white man's money. He kept little money on his person when he traveled to pick up his annuities in Grand Rapids for ten years which ended in 1848 for half-breed compensation. Other tribal stipends were for twenty years or forever depending on what treaty was signed.

Wabasis lived with his death sentence from 1838-1863. Area tribal Indians passed judgement upon Wabasis prematurely. In 1838 they thought Wabasis was hoarding their annuity payments for himself for two years when treaty monies were not dispensed from the Federal government until 1838. 1839 saw the first lands being sold north of the Grand River. Preparations were already being made to remove the Indians from the Grand River and Flat River country to Pentwater, Mt. Pleasant and Traverse City reservations. Wabasis was banished to live on ancestral land that was set aside, but the land was deeded to Wabasis and in fact he held the deeds to most of the islands in the Flat River. He even inherited purchased land at Lowell from Wobwindego and Shogwogeno.

The only Indians who were receiving money in 1836 were those left-over Potawatomie and Ottawa Indians who were supposed to have left for the reservations west of the Mississippi River after the Treaty of 1821 was signed, but they refused to go. Chief Cobmoosa and Kewaygooshcum dissolved into the Flat River tribes to protect their hunting and burial grounds south of the Grand River and their tribe intermingled with Wobwindego known as the 'White Giant' of the Flat River and Lowell tribes. Saginaw tribes knew him as 'Wobskindip." The later chiefs couldn't sign the Treaty of 1836.

Wobwindego made his eldest son, Shogwogeno, his sub-chief in 1827. Advanced years were making life difficult and he realized it was important for him to assume a more leadership role within the tribe. Chief Kewaycooshcum did travel with Rix Robinson and Wobwindego to Washington , because Kewaycooshcum was a great admirer of Gen. Lewis Cass and wished to meet him again. Kewaycooshcum found favor with President James Monroe.

Chief Mexinini (English interpretation) was easier than trying to prononunce his real name as Meccissininni. Mexinini was a powerful Ottawa chief who succeeded Kewaycooshcum. Mexinini was very dark skinned and was thought to have been a Negro slave kidnapped from his childhood home in Virginia during Indian Wars about 1812. President Andrew Jackson was impressed with Mexinini and before the chief returned from Washington he thought he would dress like the President in white mens clothing. Jackson gave him a black frock coat, black satin vest, black pantaloons, sil stockings and pumps. When Mexinini met Gen. Jackson, the President was wearing a hite bell-crowned hat with a weed on it. President Jackson's wife had passed away and this was his mourning hat. Mexinini didn't know the 'weed was a badge or mourning' and unknowing of white men cultures had a weed on his hat, which the President and his cabinet were not amused, and yet, they treated him with respect. Mexinini was widely accepted in small towns when he was returning to his village. He had sold their lands north of the Grand River and they must move west of the Mississippi within the next several years. This infuriated other tribal members, but through his oratorys telling them advantages of this treaty this cunning Indian had won over a reluctant acceptance of the treaty. Mexinini became a civilized red man. While most of the tribe left he stayed behind and appreciated civilization to a higher degree. He died in 1843 at age 50 and many Grand Rapidians and his tribe returned for his funeral. He had made preparations for his people to stay at reservations in Michigan instead of going to Missouri.

Wobwindego, Kewaycooshcum, Mexinini, Mucktasha, and Wasogenaw, Wapoos returned home and told the tribes that they had sold their lands to the U.S. Federal government. All were scorned for giving away their tribal lands and were dissatisfied with the preparations being undetaken to remove them from their ancestral lands to reservations. It would be only a matter of a few short years before the pilgramage began. Nobody knew, Indians or settlers could never have imagined what was about to befall them.

Small pox epidemics broke out in the Grand River valley and many Indians were dying of white man diseases. The Indians broke camp scattering in loose groups and others simply packing up and to and away from reservations. Fear was gripping the river valleys, but wherever the tribes went the sickness was claiming more lives. Hundreds and thousands of Indians succumbed to the small pox epidemic. For all intense purposes it was getting hard to know what Indian families registered on the census were still alive or dead, but this wasn't the worst for one of Michigan's most meteorological disaster was dogging the Indians.

In 1836 the west Michigan territory saw the ravages of over 200 Spring and Summer tornadoes that ripped across the state. The territory was laid to ruin. Wherever the Indians went they found destruction left behind by these violent menacing storms. Indians and settlers alike had never seen, heard or been exposed to such violent weather. To the Indian it was if the Great Spirit or God was wreaking vengance on the Chiefs and tribes for selling their ancestral lands to the Federal government. They felt the Great Spirit was dealing out punishment and once they encountered the destruction of forests they moved out fearing the return of the Great Spirits wrath. Being racked with sickness, disease and devestation caused much fear. Renegade half-breeds said the wisest chiefs were fools to trust Kewaycooschcum and Wabasis. They in the eyes of renegade half-breeds were responsible for whatever was wrong and what was happening to their tribal homes. 'They sold us out!'

Indians south of the Grand River were forever mad at Kewaycooshcum and Chief Wasogenaw would murder Kewaycooshcum in 1839. There were two kinds of justice in the Grand River valley after 1836. The white man's justice or Indian justice and the two never intermingled. Murders happened and whitemen law never interferred in Indian matters. It is important that you understand how Indian justice was dealt out by those Indians who felt robbed and to understand the reason behind Wabasis murder.

Chief Kewaycooshcum (Long Nose), Wasogenaw, Ka-she-wa and Wapoos, with a boy and girl were encamped at the mouth of Coldbrook Creek above Kent (Grand Rapids). The boy and girl stayed in the canoe off the mouth of the creek while the chiefs sat around the campfire drinking whisky and assorted spirits. The whisky dwindled and Ka-she-was and Wapoos went to get replentishment of their drinks. The children stayed behind in the anchored canoe, the girl sleeping.

While they were gone old Wasogenaw got beligerent and started quarreling with Kewaycooshcum. The firewater had unleashed pent up years of hatred and the Indian boy heard and saw them quarreling in the firelight and watched in horror as the old chief meted out Indian justice against Kewaycooshcum. The boy whittling a stick with his knife heard Wasogenaw shout, "You old fool! Did you not know any better than to sell this whole territory and impoverish your Nation! I am going to take your life!"

Kewaycooshcum fearing for his life pulled out and flourished his knife and said, "You can't do that! Do you see this?" Wasogenaw bent down and replied to the boy, 'Do you see that man?' He is what impoverished you. Let me take that knife you've got; I am going to kill him. Then you can help me put him in his canoe and we will take him to the middle of the river (Wastenong) and throw him in'. The boy was so scared he dropped his knife into the river, and said, 'I have no knife'. Old Wasogenaw said, 'I thought I saw you peeling a turnip with a knife'?

Showing him a sliver of wood, I said, 'No, I only had this.' The old man became furious; and ranted about angrily, went to the bank of the river, and pulled out a Maple club about two feet long, with a knot at one end. He brandished it swinging it wildly and shouting at me, 'This is the way you kill something,' and then he rushed up on Kewaycooshcum in wild abandon and viciously struck his head with the club. Kewaycooshcum threw up his hands and feet, dropped his knife and begged for his life. Wasogenaw continued his assault until Kewaycooshcum's pleading ceased.

The boy jumped out of the canoe and ran towards the village light. Wasogenaw told me to stop, but I ran faster, he in hot pursuit. I jumped across the stream and fell in the mud. Old Wasogenaw stood over me with the club, but I sprang up and evaded him, ran and met the other chiefs returning with whisky. I told them, 'The old men are killing each other.' A son of Wasogenaw said to me, 'I will go and pacify him' (his father). He walked up to his father and patted his cheek, and said 'You fool! Can't you be satisfied with committing one murder, without taking the life of the boy?' The old man fell on the ground and cried. The others returned to camp and found Kewaycooshcum dead. They put him in a canoe and carried him to Plainfield."
This story was a first hand account as told by the boy to Seth Robinson in 1839. Seth found him in a Flat River village.

Kewaycooshcum was buried at the top of Prairie village with his head above ground so that his spirit could look out over the land he sold in the Treaty of 1821. Blythefield Country Clubhouse and the Country Club of 2010 was once where that Indian Village was up until the early 1840's when the newest settlers arrived. Many Indians expressed the desire that when they died they be buried in a sitting position so their spirit can continually watch over the land of their ancestors. They preferred burial in the Norton Mounds, but no skeletons have been unearthed.

President Gerald R. Fords coffin buried at the Ford Museum is slightly raised so that his spirit can catch the first morning sunlight as it comes over Prospect Hill. This rite is what is what Gerry Ford loved as an Eagle Scout. It's to see his Savior's returns to earth. Old legends about Indian way of life live forever!

Next time more exciting tales and legends about Wabasis and his people.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Legend of Chief Wabasis' Lost Treasure - 118

"Ugg!" That's what Chief Wabasis and most Baptists would say instead of the four letter colorful metaphors others use today. Ugg! I made a boner mistake and published the incorrect title as "Chief John Wabasis led and interesting life growin..." which correctly should have been "The Legend of Chief Wabasis' Lost Treasure - 117". To find the missing cyber space segment check out my blog titles under first quotation in this paragraph. UGG!

Chief Wobwindego, Mexinini and others from north of the Grand River went to Washington to sign the Treaty of 1836 during the winter just like Kewaygooshcum did in Chicago of 1821. Now you might think the Indians in the previous 1821 treaty got lots of money, but the Ottawa and Potawatomies were robbed and that's one reason why President James Monroe and President Andrew Jackson encouraged Rev. Isaac McCoy to bring religion to the Indians north of the Grand River. Blood shed they didn't want with incoming settlers. It was the economic depression and financial crash in the mid 1820's that stopped new settlers from arriving in the Grand Rapids territory until 1831-33. Westward sprawl from Detroit was stopped in its tracks, a situation similar to the financial collapse from 2007 -. The previous Presidents understood the needs to treat the Indians of this region with compassion and provide for them once they got to reservations. Of what good was money to Indians if they didn't know how to spend it for goods and services.

In the 1821 treaty the Ottawa nation was to receive $1000 in annual specie forever, $1500 for a term of 10 years for a blacksmith and teacher under the Presidents direction to teach the Indians agricultural methods; purchasing of cattle and farming equipment. The Potawatomie Nation (Cobmoosa) was to receive $5000 in specie, annually, for 20 years, and for a term of 15 years $1000 yearly for blacksmith and teacher as the President directs. No Chippewas south of the Grand River. Most of the Potawatomies left on the Trail of Tears to Missouri and died along the way of disease. Cobmoosa stayed behind. He said that someone had to stay behind to take care of those who had died previously. He simply crossed to the other side of Grand River and lived amongst Wobwindigo's tribe and married the Chief's daughters. The Ottawas removed to north of the Grand River and farther north and that is one of the primary reasons why when the Treaty of 1836 was signed there were approximately 25 tribes from Grand River to Sault Ste. Marie.

Between 1833-36 the area south of the Grand River was busting with incoming settlers and the tribes knew they'd eventually be squeezed out. Drum beating was heard frequently as the tribal councils met to discuss signing a treaty with the US government for land north of the Grand River. Saubo was threatening "war" but Chief Wobwindigo, Sub-chief Cobmoosa, Wabasis all who were widely respected gave glowing testimonies that said it served no useful purpose to start a war with Washington because the Indians would lose. All said it was time to take what they could get and move as the President directed. This time the Ottawas and Chippewas would get a better deal and half-breed Indians who were well respected would receive better payment, because they were held in high regard and were educated and helped to get the treaty finalized without blood shed.

So the following tribes consisted of approximately 8000 Indians. These are Indians who signed the final treaty papers on Sept. 24, 1836 at Michilimackinac. At L'Arbre Croche: Apawkozigun, Nisowakeout, Kemmechanegun. Of Point Traverse: Aishquagonabee, Chabawusson, Mikenok. On Moskego (Muskegon): Osawya, Owun Aishkum. On Grand River: Nawequa Geezhig (Noon Day), Namattipy, Winnimissagee, Nabbun Egeezhug, Wabi Windego, Cawpee Mosay (Old Moses?) Mukutay Oguot, Megiss Ininee (Mexinini), Muccutay Osha. On the Manistee North: Mukons Ewyan. At Oak Point: Ains. At the Cheneaux: Chabowaywa. At Sault Ste. Marie: Iawbawabick, Kewayzi Shawano. At Gr - Oshawa Eponbaysee and Chingassamo and miscellanoeus unreadable due to deterioration. At no other time had so many Indians inhabited the region. This was the census register of names signed in person at Michilimackinac on September 24, 1836

According to Article Sixth of the Treaty of 1836 the Chiefs desired provisions for their half-breed relatives, but the President determined there shall not be any individual reservations, but $150,000 shall be set apart as a fund for said half-breeds. (Often respected half-breeds were paid upon the Chief's direction at higher rates). To receive any funds they must be of Indian descent and have lived within the boundaries of the treaty boundary. First the President directed a census be taken of every man, woman and child. Nothing shall be paid to any person, who has received an allowance from a previous Indian treaty (Kewaygooshcum). For the purpose of clarity from here on I'll let the treaty speak for itself so that you may understand what and who received payments.

..."As the Indians hold in higher consideration, so of their half-breeds than others, and as there is much difference in their capacity to use and take care of property, and consequently, in their power to aid their Indian connexions, which furnishes a strong ground for this claim, it is therefore, agreed, that at the council to be held upon this subject, the commissioner shall call upon the Indian chiefs to designate, if they require it, three classes of these claimants, the first of which, shall received one-half more than the second, and the second, double the third.

Each man, woman, and child shall be enumerated, and an equal share, in the respective classes, shall be allowed to each. If the father is living with the family, he shall receive the shares of himself, wife and children. If the father is dead, or separated from the family, and the mother is living with the family, she shall have her own share, and that of the children. If the father or mother are neither living with the family, or if the children are orphans, their share shall be retained till they are twenty-one years of age; provided, that such portions of it as may be necessary may, under direction of the President, be from time to time supplied for their support. All other persons at the age of twenty-one years, shall receive their shares agreeably to the proper class. Out of the said fund of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000), the sum of five thousand dollars ($5000) shall be reserved to be applied, under the direction of the President, to the support of such of the poor half-breeds, as may require assistance, to be expended in annual installmetns for the term of ten years, commencing the second year. Such of the half-breeds, as may be judged incapable of making a proper use ot the money, allowed them by the commissioner, shall receive the same installments, as the President may direct."

Next time I'll explain what Wabasis got out of the Treaty of 1836.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chief John Wabasis led and interesting life growing up in the villages of Kewaycooshcum, Wobwindigo and Cobmoosa. These were civilized Indians who understood that someday the white settlers were coming and they'd have to sign peace treaties to keep the river valleys from running red with the blood of each culture. Daniel Marsac took advantage of his relationship with the Ottawa Indians living in the vicinity of Lowell. Taking and Indian squaw for his wife had kept his wallet full of money making it easy for him to travel back and forth from Detroit, but his success actually became his downfall. He had an eye for other women when he traveled back to Detroit previously before he returned with the Dexter Party in 1833. Marsac felt what Janute hadn't seen won't be bothersome to her.

Luther Lincoln watched as more white settlers began streaming into Grandville and had started a city at the 'rapids' known as Kent. Isaac McCoy's mission was well established and he had time to wonder among the Indian villages north of the Grand River and begin surveying. Not all the Indians he met were friendly and finding drinkable water was hard especially when the whole area was infested with Ague Fever. It affected man and beasts. Although the Treaty of 1821 had been signed 12 years ago from 1833 provisions were made to reserve several tracts for Indian villages, but none were made south of the Grand River. In fact other than Lincoln, Marsac, McCoy and Leonard Slater no white settlers arrived to settle south of the Grand River until the arrival of the Dexter Party. Indian were encountered everywhere.

Previously in 1821 the President James Monroe granted personal tracts of property to earlier traders who had intermarried with the tribes located along the Grand River. John Riley, son of Menawcumagoquoi, one section of land at the mouth of the river Au Foin on the Grand River, (Holland tribe), Theresa Chandler or To-e-ak-qui, a Potawatomie woman with her daughter Betsey Fisher, one section of land along south side of the Grand River opposite Spruce Swamp; with provisions for Joseph La Framboise and William Knoggs of Indian blood. Chief Kewaygooshcum and Chief Kay-nee-wee's tribe and each individual received about $1.50 each year in silver. Why so little? This treaty extended south and took in all Indian tribes of Indiana, Illinois, too, not just the Ottawa and Potawatomie tribes of Michigan.

Until 1833 the Grand River valley was inhabited by thousands of Indians from the Potawatomie, Ottawa and Chippewa nations, the Three Fires. Kewaycooshcums tribe contained 700 Ottawas and Chippewas. Chief Noonday's tribe had roughly 600 at the "rapids" and 1000 at Prairie Village and many more tribes northward. Indians outnumbered settlers.

Other than Rev. Thomas and Carey's Baptist mission and Rev. McCoy's Baptist mission only a few fur traders lived among the Indians. McCoy moved further westward before the arrival of the Dexter Party. He felt his work in Michigan paved the way for the peaceful resolution in Washington for the Treaty of 1836. McCoy felt that if he didn't bring Christianity to the Indians all they had to look forward to was being robbed of their culture. He wanted to make sure the Indians were paid for their lands, but they were to be treated with compassion and kindness. Despite this not all the Indians wanted to sign that treaty such as the vehement renagade Saubo of the Holland tribes. Whenever Saubo met a white settler they got no handsake from him like Wobwindigo, Cobmoosa, Mexinini or Wabasis gave with a friendly smile. Indians were no different than those in Washington. Indians never saw eye-to-eye either.

Saubo threatend the white settlers he met with bodily harm and even the fur traders felt Saubo's rath and feared for their lives. Wobwindigo, Cobmoosa, Kewaycooshcum with Wabasis in tow attended a pow wow near Holland. Kewaygooshcum laid out the treaty plans with the grand councils, but he was met with great disapproval. Many savage coucilmen delivered long and eloquent speeches about the disadvantages of leaving homes of the heart -- "Here we buried our dead...and here we should stay... and here we should remain to protect their graves." But Kewaygooshcum gave the advantages; blacksmiths, schools, agriculture implements and money, but many like Saubo disapproved because of the stipulation they'd have to remove themselves to reservations west of the Mississippi deamed a hostile worthless land. With help from Mexinini, Wobwindigo and half-breed Indian John Wabasis the treaty was accepted with the provision they removed to three reservations in Michigan at Pentwater, Mt. Pleasant and Traverse City region.

In 1834-35 Saubo entertained the idea that all white settlers should be killed to stop the incoming invasion of settlers. Saubo was an angry half-breed, but big on fiery indignation and shouting, but never made any trouble and for that reason he was called the "mouse." Saubo said he didn't like that the U.S. government sent missionaries into the region with a Bible in one hand and when treaties were signed the other hand held whiskey bottles. President Andrew Jackson upon hearing about possible Indian uprisings and half-breeds threatening war dispatched a U.S. Army detachment into Michigan with two cannons in tow in March 1836 to protect new settlers. Destination was unknown, but only one cannon got to where it was going. One fell thru thin ice on the Grand River east of Ionia and wasn't retrieved.

The pow wow was successful and Wobwindigo and Mexinini were dispatched to Washington to sign the treaty along with about 25 other chiefs whose villages were north of the Grand River to Sault Ste. Marie. In total they represented about 8000 Indians all who would get an annuity for 20 years and half-breeds for 10 years paid with half silver dollars. Cobmoosa couldn't sign the treaty. He was already receiving his annuity payment forever from signing the Treaty of 1821, because he was a Potawatomie by birth and lived south of the Grand River. He couldn't leave his homeland culture to white settlers. He had to protect Indian cemeteries from desecration, the looters and treasure seekers. Most of the Potawatomie tribe left for Missouri reservations, but he stayed behind and married three different daughters of Chief Wobwindigo and remained in the Ottawa villages north of the Grand River. Up until he professed Christianity Cobmoosa had six wives and lifestyle of a mormon.

While the Ottawas and Chippewas negotiated the upcoming Treaty of 1836 Rix Robinson and his brothers arrive in the Grand River valley about the time Joseph La Framboise is killed near Grand Haven and his wife Madam La Framboise takes over his fur trading businesses, the American Fur Company. Rix Robinson a man of importance and means trades with the Indians and journeys to Washington with the great Chief Kewaygooshcum, Mexinini (Meccissininni) and 20 other Indian Chiefs that make up the Ottawa and Chippewa nations north of the Grand River.

President Andrew Jackson entertained Mexinini and gave him a fine black coat and tall silk hat. Mexinini was so proud that when he returned to Michigan and whenever he had to deal with white settlers he wore the hat and coat. He assumed the habits of settlers and preferred wearing settler attire over his cultural heritage. When Mexinini died many white settlers attended his funeral in Grand Rapids.

Next time a little sneak peak into how much the Indian received in payment. Silver or gold and who received the most money for Indian land north of the Grand River. How did Wabasis get so rich if he didn't sign the treaty? Good day!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Legend of Chief Wabasis' Lost Treasure - 116

Chief John Wabasis was an educated young brave whose biggest mentors were Chief Wobwindigo of the Flat River tribes, Sub-chief Cobmoosa of the Thornapple River (Potawatomies) under the leadership of the Kalamazoo and Grand River "rapids tribes" Chief Noonday known as Nawequa Geezhig. Cobmoosa had villages at Lyons and Muir and also a village in Ionia where the Ionia Free Fair is located. In his earlier years Wabasis found favor in the eyes of Chief Kewaycooshcum's tribe at his village where the Maple River meets the Grand River. Wabasis was a young boy of 14 years of age when the Treaty of Chicago 1821 was signed at the "Skunk Water" place then named Chicago. Windy city sounds better than visiting the 'skunk water city' on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan.

Wabasis traveled many times down the Grand River by canoe and was well respected in the "rapid' villages of Mexinini (MegissIninee) even before the Catholic mission and Baptist missionary named Isaac McCoy arrived about 1817. To many Mexinini appeared to be of Negro decent because of his dark skin and settlers believed he was originally kidnapped during Indian Wars from his childhood home in Virginia. He was known as the "Black One" in the Flat River tribes and some of his kin settled northeast of Wabasis Lake. He was another who found favor in the eyes of white settlers and fur traders in the 1820's for his fair dealings even though it seemed like a hostile world, but not all in his tribe shared his ideals. Some were hot heads with fiery words against new settlers.

In Isaac McCoy's dealings with the Indians living in the lower Great Lakes region he posted letters to Washington stating that wherever he went he found the Indians barbarous, wild, ignorant, cruel and deceitful, but some appeared to be educated more than others. To live among the Indians meant he had to endure hunger, wetness and cold with no creature comforts; no physicians or the consoling commentary of friends. Although he worked many years trying soften the hearts of the Indians to stave off Indian Wars with incoming settlers he once said that he'd rather like to be known as a missionary to the Indians than fill a President's chair or sit upon the throne of Alexander, the emperour of Russia. Yet, to live among the Indians as a missionary meant he had to have the tenacity of Peter, the meekness of Moses coupled with the wisdom of Solomon. He had gotten to the point in his life where he no longer wanted to address thousands assembled in Sanson meeting houses in Philadeplphia, but instead felt it his duty to preach Jesus to the poor Indians who were about to be displaced by the treaties in Washington or Chicago.

McCoy had many financial troubles when setting up his missionary stations even in Grand Rapids. The Baptist mission board didn't send money very often. When debts piled up he borrowed money from friends; in fact he was borrowing money to pay back money to settle his debts after he paid his debtors. He was in constant despair and he began to wonder if when he died all that he had done to help the Indians was worth his pain and suffering. It pained him that he would probably die without seeing the fruits of his labor. He worried that with all his work he might not get the financial educational help for the poor illiterate Indian children, but yet he felt it worthwhile to stop any bloodshed between settlers and Indians. Offering them a smithy with schools was a way to soften hearts, but getting them to sign the treaties were often met with the indignations of renegade half-breeds like Saubo among the Holland tribes. With each treaty came the prospects of getting the Indians blacksmiths and schools, etc. in addition to payment for their lands over the course of 20 years.

What many Indians did not know was that when they signed the treaties often times the legislature in Washington would add stipulations for Indian removals to reservations after the treaty was signed. Often times McCoy spoke about the educated half-breeds who were fair minded and well respected within the tribes and fur traders. McCoy noted that some ignorant Indians when given treaty monies would spend it unwisely so preparations were needed at treaty signings to make sure those Indians who were looked upon favorably would be a amply rewarded better than the chiefs. It was President Andrew Jackson who dealt out 1836 treaties money at his disgression to those not regarded as friends of the people. They got less.

Chief Kewaycooshcum signed the Treaty of 1821 deeding all lands south of the Grand River to the Federal government. Many of the Potawatomies went southwest to settle on the reservations in Missouri and those that remained retired to north of the Grand River, but they knew it'd be only a matter of a few short years before fur traders and settlers would be pouring into the Grand River valley now that a few Catholic missions and a Baptist missionary station was erected about 1817-1826. In 1826 about 3000 Indians inhabited the Grand River valley and in the summer time about 1000 Indians lived at Prairie Village, which would later become Plainfield Township. The village was atop the high hill overlooking the Grand River valley about where Blythefield Country Clubhouse is today. Farther up the river the villages at Ada had about 200 Indians and Wobwindigos village about 400.

About the first settler to appear was Luther Lincoln who built a log cabin at Grandville in 1831. He had domestic animals and he said it was 'wild' at night. To keep them safe meant bringing them inside his cabin because the wolves were so vicious. He didn't know how the Indians could tolerate them. He stayed awake at night listening to the growlings of the wolves as they circled and tried to naw their way into his cabin. He stood guard many nights his gun resting in his lap, cocked and ready to fire should any gain entrance. Wolves were hungry that the winter of 1831-32 and roamed at will due to the lack of snow. No snow, not even temperatures below freezing all winter, the ground soft for plowing. What an extreme! Not even the Indians had ever seen such a strange winter, but one thing he noted was that there was no shortage of Indians. He remained in Grandville, but patiently waited for he knew it wouldn't be long before lands north of the Grand River would be opening for settlement because he was beginning to feel crowded. The tougher the living the better he liked it and within years he'd go up the Grand and Flat Rivers and settle in the vicinity of, and its named in honor of him, Lincoln Lake, in northeastern Kent County.

In 1831-32 another big party came floating down the Grand River. It was the Dexter party floating on large rafts and with them came Daniel Marsac, an 18 year old French fur trader who gained favor among Wobwindigo's Flat River tribe at Lowell and built the first fur trading station on the south bank of the Grand River opposite the mouth of the Flat River and married a beautiful Indian woman named Janute living in Wobwindigo's village.

The Indians exchanged furs, berries and sugar maple for cloth, beads, ammunition for guns and assortments of whiskey. Wobwindingo married Daniel Marsac described as a tall, straight athletic type friend to beautiful Indian woman named Janute. He gave them a full Ottawa marriage ceremony. Within a year Janute bore him a daughter named Marie, but over the next five years and when the Treaty of 1836 was signed he sent her to a private French school near Detroit for a better education, but she died of white settler diseases. This nearly broke Janutes' heart. Marie wasn't there long. Marsac was ashamed of Janute and Marsac left for Detroit and when he returned to Lowell she (Janute) met Marsac's new French wife and the shock of his infidelity killed her. Janute cried herself to death. When she died Marsac lost the respect and trade of Wobwindigo and Cobmoosa's tribal standing. No Indians, not even John Wabasis, nor his wife would trade with Marsac and Wabasis learned the value of respect. Marsac was forced to sell his trading post and he used the proceeds to buy an 80-acre parcel on the north side of the river east of the Flat River calling it Dansville.

Wobwindigo and Cobmoosa were Wabasis' mentors. Respect, all give respect is what they taught Wabasis. Do what's right and you'll never stray. Wabasis got a steady dose or what it means to be well liked, but unlike Wobwindigo he traveled by canoe Cobmoosa traveled by foot and scorned river trips. He walked to villages near Portland and Lansing. He was known as the "Grand Walker," and when he did leave the Grand River valley many years later he walked to Grand Haven, but did not float down the river, but did take a steamboat trip up Lake Michigan to the Pentwater and walked to the reservation.

Well time to quit. Next time I'll talk briefly about the Treaty of 1836 and what it meant to Wobwindigo, Cobmoosa and Wabasis.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Legend of Chief Wabasis' Lost Treasure - 115

Chief John Wabasis wandered home many times along the Plainfield-Sheridan Indian Trail without incidences meaning he was never waylaid by drunken Indians who threatened to kill him if he left his homestead. He was good at confusing any individuals who might be watching or trailing him. No self respecting Indian chief walked the beaten path. Often as individuals or groups they'd simply disappear into the forests similar to how the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War of the 1960's simply vanished into the jungle.

Sorry to say too many Americans in these post 911 era days travel the same route to and from work or play each day and this becomes way too convenient for terrorists who study the certain behaviors of individuals when planning terrorism. Going the same way on asphalt every day isn't good. We become predictable. Never go the same way day after day. Every once in a while pull a 'crazy Ivan' to see if anyone follows. If Russian submarine commanders can pull crazy Ivan's why don't you?

Wabasis lived with his own family group comprised of his wife Cononona born in 1813 with his children Chinquana (m) b. 1832, Macadefsequa (m) b. 1833, NowCon (m) b. 1838, Post (m) b. 1845, Shanabaqua (f) b. 1843, Wabindags (m) b. 1840 and John Wabasis born 1807.

Four children were born when he was in isolation on his farm in Oakfield Township and Wabasis' name appears on many things; Wabasis Avenue, Big Wabasis Lake, Little Wabasis Lake, Wabasis Creek and later Wabasis Lake Airport, Wabasis Lake Campground, Chief Wabasis Potato Growers Association, the White Swan Cemetery and White Swan School which up until the 1890's was the best public school in northeastern Kent County.

For such a man described as a scoundrel and thief by Indians the settlers placed him in high regard. John Wabasis was a rich man and not a poor Indian for he owned many of the Flat River islands and land in Ionia County -- deeded land he inherited from his adopted father Chief Wobwindigo and his foster father Chief Cobmoosa all Odawa Indians of the Flat River tribes. Wabasis received his adopted fathers share of treaty monies which angered other tribes who thought he should give them shares the chiefs received.

Mukatasha's tribe lived just northeast of Wabasis and they hounded him hoping he'd show them where he hid their share of the treaty monies which had only been dispersed twice since the treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on March 28, 1836. When the treaty was signed the Indians and arrangements were made for payment for land north of the Grand River, the remaining Potawatomies were to leave on the Trail of Tears for Missouri, the Odawa's and Chippewa's were given a few years to leave for reservations at Pentwater, Mt. Pleasant and Traverse City. Many Indians never got a chance to leave the Grand River and Flat River areas because of a small pox epidemic, which killed hundreds of Indians around 1837. The epidemic nearly wiped out Wobwindego's tribe. When white settler sickenesses broke out the tribes scattered and in fact Chief Wobwindigo died of small pox in 1837, a year after returning from Washington.

What the Indians didn't know was that although they signed the treaty that guaranteed them an income for 20 years, the legislature attached an amendment which stipulated that the Indians remove themselves within five years. They were being encouraged and later forced to move north to the reservations. Only Wabasis' tribe in Kent County would remain along with Mukatasha's group in Montcalm County. The Indians who signed the treaty never saw this amendment and the last of the Indians moved out around 1864. Chief Mukatasha and Big Chief Ne-ogg-ah-nah planned to murder Chief Wabasis for nearly 25 years and they carried out Wabasis' death sentence when they tricked him into leaving his deeded parcel and attending the Green Corn Festival at Prairie Village (Blythefield Country Club) in Plainfield Township in 1863.

One can only wonder why the Indians couldn't figure out sooner where the man who supposedly robbed them of the tribes treaty monies and inheritance money hid the treasure? Wouldn't you think that after watching Wabasis' comings and goings for years that they'd have found the treasure? They plied the Chief with firewater, drank it with him in excess, but try as they might they couldn't get Wabasis to spill beans where the treasure could be found and they couldn't when he was murdered. Liquor has loosened the tongues of many. If whiskey and rum couldn't loosen his tongue is it possible that none existed or could it be speculative that maybe it didn't exist on his property, but was buried elsewhere. I find it strange that when his supposed Indian brothers got him drunk he refused to say where the kettles of gold and silver were hidden. Wabasis wife and children could leave and return without harm. John lived under the threat of 'death' if he went beyond one mile from his domicile or lake. He was not just banished to his farm as the current legend states.

Currently nobody has ever found the treasure troves of Chief John Wabasis and none will if they concentrate their searches on government property. Nobody has shown any tangible proof to support their claim they've found the kettles of gold and silver. The search area has been expanded and the treasure could lie anywhere within one mile of the entire Wabasis Lake area, which includes 8 other lakes and terrain befitting mountain goats and rattlesnakes. Over the last 138 years local folks had tweaked the legend so much they shrank the containment area down to a fraction of its original size so that it could only be buried along the western shores of Wabasis Lake.

On the contrary this isn't the only possible burial spot!

The Indians were the ones who said Wabasis sold the land north of the Grand River, but that's a misnomer (Indian legend). All he did was help the Federal government and the powers that be in Washington along with President Andrew Jackson procure the sale of Odawa lands for the Treaty of Chicago 1821 and Treaty of 1836. Wabasis was only 14 years old, but wiser than most of his peers in 1821 and was invaluable during the Treaty of 1826 and 1833. He had gained stature within the tribes for his peaceful demeanor. Wabasis was never a treaty signer, but many have confused his name with that of "Wabasuh, a Kaskaskian chief," that inhabited south central Illinois.

U.S. Census records of 1850 showed that Wabasis was born 1807 to 1810. His wife was recorded as three years younger (1813). However according to personal records kept by family members it was 1807, but it makes no difference since John Wabasis name doesn't appear on any treaties. He was born to a French Canadian woman who may have arrived during an Indian War. Unknown is what happened to her but John was adopted by Chief Wobwindigo (WabiWindego means 'white giant) in the early 1820's and was highly respected by the chief's three sons; Shog-wo-ge-no, A-can-go, Ash-kel-be-gosh. Wobwindigos village was comprised of 300 Odawa Indians. After Wobwindigo's death sub-chief "Cobmoosee, the giant walker", under Chief NoonDay of the Grand Rapids tribe, became Wabasis' foster father. Cobmoosa was the son-in-law of Wobwindigo having had married three of his daughters after the deaths of each one. Cobmoosa had six wives total before he confessed his Catholic religion in the 1820's.

When the treaty was signed it was the remaining tribal members who decided that it would be John Wabasis who would make the trip to Grand Rapids for their shares of treaty money and he did that for two years, but he angered the Indians when they didn't get their fair share. That is when they banished Wabasis to live out his remaining years at Wabasis Lake. Wabasis' farm was deeded to him by the Federal government as half-breed compensation for keeping Indians like Mexicini and Saubo from starting an Indian uprising or war with Washington. This is why the U.S. Army was dispatched into Michigan hauling two four-pound cannons that fell thru Grand River ice in 1836 in Ionia County when the Twin Sister cannons were headed down the Mississippi River to Sam Houston waiting in Texas to win the Battle of San Jacinto and beat Santiana back into Mexico liberating Texas. Back to our main story.

Half-breeds received greater sums, but for shorter years. Still those who trusted Wabasis to bring them their share had not left a forwarding address and he wasn't going to go looking for them. Many of them died during the small pox epidemic up and down the Grand River. The government wasn't in the habit of giving Chief Wabasis the shares of other Indians. The different chiefs were supposed to have appeared for payment and not a proxy.

Well its getting late and I'm tired so tune in next time for the early life and times of Chief John Wabasis. Once you get the real picture then you can decide where to look for Wabasis' lost treasure.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Legend of Chief Wabasis' Lost Treasure - 114

Chief John Wabasis treasure is still waiting for a smart treasure hunter to find it. The Greenville groups discovery in the 1880's lacked any physical proof it was found so keep on looking for it. Never dismiss any legends until you find what you seek. Heresay evidence is poppycock.

Actually the "Murder of Little White Swan" happened in May 1863 towards the end of the Civil War. This swan had no feathers, but was tall and muscular comprised of flesh and bones of the half-breed Potawatomie Indian named Chief John Wabesis (Wab-ah-see). That's his real Indian name and not the American version of spelling. He was born in 1807 and murdered in 1863 by fellow Indians who tricked Wabesis into going to a corn festival at Plainfield and then killed him just off the Plainfield-Sheridan Indian Trail as he was returning home. He acutally left his banishment property and returned safely for 27 years. Wabesis was 54 years old and lived in Oakfield Township with his wife and five siblings.

Wabesis lived on the western shore of Wabasis Lake. A band of Mukatasha blackskins lived in a tiny village northeast of Wabesis farm near Greenville. They stayed in the area to make sure that Wabesis never stepped off his property. Since 1834 the Blackskin tribe (Odowa) accused Wabesis of selling their lands north of the Grand River for approximately $50,000 in gold and silver coinage and never dispersing the treaty monie. Wabesis never sold anything. Hopefully in this mystery you'll get a clearer picture whether the legend is real or legend.

The search area for Wabesis' treasure has for the last 125 years or so been centered in the vicinity of Wabasis Lake Park and Campground, a northeast Kent County recreational area. The legend of Chief John Wabesis has him confined to the western shore. To go beyond his 40-acre garden plot meant certain death and he flirted with death frequently by picking up his treaty monies each year in Grand Rapids, but this containment area is incorrect. Wabesis was given the deeded property by the Federal government in 1838 for half-breed compensation. He was an educated man and helped quash an Indian uprising in the Grand River basin in the late 182o's to mid 1830's.

Wabesis was confined to his own parcel by the Indians, but he couldn't travel farther than one mile from Wabasis Lake as a whole. Now that's a large containment area with plenty of caves and it wasn't just the county park's caves that were sealed to prevent curious spelunkers from exploring them looking for the Chief's treasure. Many other caves exist within the target area. The chief had plenty of haunts were he could have stashed the treasure, but the bulk of the treasure is buried outside the containment area. He always had little money when he left and returned with less so where is all the treat monies?

Over the passing years the fortune Wabesis reportedly horded in specie from government annual payments is what treasure hunters have sought for 145 plus years by torchlight, lantern lights or sunlight. Nightime searches happened in Grand Rapids in the 1870's, too, and men who dug ditches for sewers found Indian treasures and returned to digging at night to find treasures. As a result, the work done by day was undone by amateur treasure hunters at night and it made Wright L. Coffinberry angry. These were trinkets to be saved and he was responsible for creation of the Kent Institute later called the Grand Rapids Museum and of late changed to the Van Andel Museum. Mr. Coffinberry was the lead archaeologist of Indian treasures in the 1870's. By trade he was a jeweler and he had never seen any recovered items from Wabesis treasure. No true kettles and pots of treaty monies have ever been recovered. Heresay evidence by the Greenville group who said that they found the treasure never proved it to newspaper writers or the general public. Many speculate they say they found it to keep others from looking.

Each year someone dreams about striking it rich at Wabasis Lake, but Chief Wabasis' spirit protects its burial spot on dark nights. Nighttime walkers in the park say cold spots give them shivers. Others have reported creepy feelings as if Wabesis' ghost his huffing his cold breath upon them from behind as they walk in the darkness smooching. Maybe its time to snap some infrared photos of the park's dark night terrain hoping to catch Wabesis ghostly spirit hovering above a hidden pot of gold and silver along the wild shoreline or anywhere within one mile of the lake. Remember Wabesis died a horrible death so it is reasonable to think he might not approve of treasure hunters searching for his lost treasure. Do you believe in ghosts?

With the use of Kodak infrared film of the 21st century the chances of capturing night ghosts is greater than 69%. Here's your chance to shine and become the newest treasure or ghost hunter seeking local fame that's if you aren't squeamish about finding ghosts. Wabesis spirit haunts the living and its enough to make anyone's bones rattle. Wabesis died a violent death hence his ghostly spirit might be watching as people search for his kettles and pokes of buried treasures.

The same individuals who say they found the treasure never said how much they found just as their is no exact sum of how much Wabesis received from the government, inheritances and personal business dealings. Wabesis was a well educated man of wealth and stood tall among early pioneers as a man met with firm handshakes. He was jovial and friendly to all he met.

Wabesis was a half-breed Indian, but what many other Indians did not understand was that they were paid more than chiefs, because of their educated abilities to negotiate treaties amongst the Ottawa and Chippewa nations without bloodshed. President Andrew Jackson according to the Article Sixth distributed treaty monies to the Indians upon their signatures on the Treaty of 1836 (March 28). They deeded all Indian lands north of the Grand River. Half-breeds who helped prevent Indian uprisings were often treated better than chiefs, but the Mukatasha tribe was maddened by the loss of their hunting grounds and were told they had to purchase their own land back to stay on their property near Greenville. This angered them further.

The Blackskins were half-breeds, too, but uneducated. This the result of a Negro slave child from Virginia who was captured during an Indian war and traded to Indians who later intermarried with Grand River Indians. Mukatasha's tribe always claimed that Wabesis refused to pay them government money for 24 years. Isn't it strange that during those many years nobody ever saw Wabesis visit his large cache of reputed hidden treasure. Even though Wabesis lived with death threats he showed no fear from his Indian brothers. When he did leave and return he carried less than when his trip started. Why then would Indians think the pot of treasure was hidden on the farm? Why threaten him with "death" if he left his garden plot?

Wabesis had eluded the Mukatasha's for nearly 25 years. He made the pilgrimage to Grand Rapids for more than 20 years to get his yearly annuity payment and return to his Wabasis Lake home. It took him 2 days to walk to Grand Rapids in good weather, but his return trips took 2-4 days, because he stopped to visit amongst his white friends and associates in Plainfield in the vicinity of Plainfield village (where Blythefield Country Club is today).

That's all for today. Please keep reading. I've been getting some good feedback.